Saturday, September 8, 2007

This morning I biked Beijing. It was ridiculous, for several reasons:

1. My calligraphy professor led the trip. He doesn't speak English.
Fang Laoshi is, however, pretty awesome. He knows alot, although he rambles forever, so it's hard to understand what he's getting at. Today he wore a panama hat, a fanny pack, and a cigarette permanently attached to his mouth despite our strenuous ride. Fang Laoshi is also decended from Qing royalty, so he sometimes can't talk to people because they "rank below him," and it's not ever pretentious, because he's actually aristocracy. I guess he got pretty beat up during the cultural revolution. He doesn't really like to talk about it.

2. Beijing traffic is scary.
Every time I get on my bike I risk death. I have had so many near death experiences in the past week while biking that I've quite lost count. I now bike into oncoming traffic without so much as second glance. I'm also willing to take on and cut off busses. We also witnessed several car crashes. Stupendous. One of the cars cut us off, hit a taxi, wrapped itself around a tree, and then flipped over literally 5 feet from me. This is all normal in Beijing. There really aren't traffic laws. That's why biking past a huge building labled "Beijing Traffic Regulation Building" was hilarious. I'm pretty upset I didn't get a picture.

3. Our bikes cost $15.
Meaning that they're pieces of crap, that were not built to withstand more than 2 miles at a time. We went 17 miles. Within the first 15 minutes someone's tire popped. Actually, shredded into a million pieces is terrifically more accurate. My pedals fell apart. Several other similar incidents occured along the way. Luckily, everytime we broke down, we were next to a bike repair shop. It helps that there's one about every 2 blocks. They're like the Starbucks of Beijing. Near the halfway point a couple of us realized that the metal poles that hold up our seats were bending. Like really bending. Mine was practically at a 90 degree angle when I realized that I wasn't going to make it home. In despair, I asked Fang Laoshi what to do. "没问题!" and he grabbed the seat and, WITH HIS BARE HANDS, bent it back and then, WITHOUT UNSCREWING ANYTHING, and again WITH HIS BARE HANDS, pounded the pole/seat back into the bike. It was amazing! For a 60 something man, this guy is crazy intense. He's like superman.

So yes, that is my crazy story of the day. I will not be able to sit down for weeks.


p.s. can you guys read characters if I post them?
p.p.s. my roommate went to a karaoke bar from midnight until 6 AM last night.
p.p.p.s. the chinese translation for Baskin Robbins is 美国风味冰淇淋: American Flavored Ice Cream.


  1. I can't see the characters but thats okay because I clearly wouldn't understand them anyways. It might be because I don't have any sort of chinese package on my computer or something?

    You're life sounds absolutely crazy and amazing!!!! I'm glad you're having fun!

  2. ummm.. that was from Erica by the way haha. sorry

  3. Ni hao, I can see your characters because my mac is super awesome like your mac ;)